Press Release: Co-Founder Looks at The Pentagon’s Risky Business

WASHINGTONAug. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher (WI-08) joined co-founder Dr. Roslyn Layton to call on the Department of Defense to provide robust plans to counter the cybersecurity threats identified by the agency’s Inspector General in its recent report, “Audit of the DoD’s Management of the Cybersecurity Risks for Government Purchase Card Purchases of Commercial Off-the-Shelf Items.”  The report identified over 9,000 purchases by Army and Air Force personnel in 2018 on Chinese-manufactured hardware and electronics from household name brands like Lexmark, GoPro and Lenovo, that are already flagged or banned by other federal agencies and open the door to hacks and spying of military personnel and government facilities.  The DoD must formally respond to the report by August 26th.

“This report is just the latest warning that our government is not taking cybersecurity as seriously as it should,” said Congressman Gallagher. “Equipment sold by state-directed Chinese technology companies pose a serious threat to our security, and it’s critical we act to both mitigate the vulnerabilities in our defense supply chain and prohibit the purchase of these high-risk technologies.”

Dr. Layton agrees that Congress should ensure the Pentagon takes appropriate action to mitigate cyber risks, but also stresses how federal, state, and local agencies need to take the initiative to ensure the security of government networks.  “The IG report identified Lenovo, GoPro and Lexmark products as ‘known cybersecurity risks.’ This begs the question – if they are known for their vulnerabilities, why are they not already banned?”

Both Congressman Gallagher and Dr. Layton underscored that service secretaries in the Pentagon must remain engaged.  “Authorities should base decisions on banning products with security flaws on intelligence rather than bad press. The IG report unfortunately notes how on multiple occasions Congress has banned products with known risks before the Pentagon took any action.  This report is a wake-up call and should disrupt the status quo,” said Dr. Layton.